Friday, March 28, 2008

By Dritëro Agolli

A new stage of creativity

I have in front a manuscript of the new book with short stories, "False Miracles", by Shefki Hysa. Before reading it, I thought I would find in it the same elements of narration style I used to find in his previous books, particularly in the book with short stories "The thief’s narrations". By that time, this book was the most distinguished one regarding the spirit of the real contemporary realism, embodying several problems and social ideas, characteristic for the time. I remember I was impressed by the fragment: "Babloku", extracted from the novel "The cursed paradise", which I would consider expressionistic, due to the deep emotional impressions felt after its reading.

While reading through the lines of "Babloku" an idea struck my mind: the writing process of Shefki Hysa is about to pass into a new stage! Anyhow, I was not very much convinced…
So, I started to read "False Miracles", without succeeding to get out of my mind "Babloku". Those elements, ready in embryo at the "False Miracles" were now about to bloom.
But what are these blooming buds? I think they are present in the mixture of fantastic and grotesque together with the allegory which conveys the idea indirectly. Let us take into consideration the short story "False Miracles", which is part of the book with the same title. Its idea is that no matter how beautiful and precious things are in themselves, if they do not serve the mankind, they are common like all the rest. The daydreaming hero enters the world of magic, in the arms of an enchanting girl with luxurious palaces and magical library. She is eager to have all these miracles, including love as well, all for herself and her lover. Here comes out the conflict. This is in a few words the content, which is revealed at the beginning in the psychoanalyst spirit:

"When he opened the eyes, he saw the sun caressing the wall in front. It was high time to get up but he did not want to leave the bed. He gasped and took his arms out of the sheets. He remembered that last night he puzzled his wits to change something in his life. To make something worthy, to the benefit of mankind, but still he was ruminating what.

He wanted to think it over again before taking the next step. He had all the time ahead until two o’clock in the afternoon, when he had to start the job at the old bus garage. He was a mechanical engineer.

He had to go through the same things lately: get up at eight, wander around to drive away the sleep, then to near at the old basin with his gritting teeth, comb the hair at the washed out mirror nailed against one of the wardrobe doors, get dressed and leave."

Such psychoanalysis is revealed bit by bit to depict the realistic-phantasmagorical character:
"He was perplexed in various thoughts, until he reached the corner of the road, that left behind the inhabited zone and could make out the high-school girl in her black school uniform and white collar, which stirred up in him the nostalgia of migratory birds, the swallows, maybe because she used to commute every day from town to village and vice versa. With his heart pounding, he slowed down the pace and waited she passed by him. He could feel in every cell of his body her approach and his heartbeat melted suddenly into her deer-like steps. He could hardly breathe in those moments, his back thrilled and his nape got sweaty. He could feel her troubled breath kissing his ears but did not dare to turn around. He could feel the inner voice urging to speak, but they have never greeted each-other so far."

So, bit by bit, portraying figuratively the character, the short story turns into a symbol. And while in this story we have to do with a symbol, in the other one "The donkeys" we come across the grotesque that whips the kingdom of inefficiency mingled with the cringe. The inefficient people, the donkeys, live happily thanks to the skilfulness of other people- the well-known formula of all the times. Even here the author doesn’t skip the psychoanalyses, the paradox together with the grotesque mixed together with the sarcasm and the contemporary satire. The metamorphoses elements remind us of Apuleiu’s novel, the famous Latin writer "Metamorphoses or the golden ass", which unfortunately is not translated yet into Albanian.
In his short story "The donkeys", the author writes:

"Strangely, every night he dreamt of himself turned into a donkey. Nevertheless, even though his being might enter the skin of that animal, he would never believe it. How could such a thing be believed? He was the number one of the Presidential staff… He was right after the President in rank. Everyone feared him more than His Excellency, the President himself. No! Rrapush could never be and would never turn into a four-footed despite that strange feeling that tormented him at nights and deepened him into the dream world, becoming a donkey…"

It is not the case to enter a minute analysis on the book "False miracles", because it would ask some time. That is why I mentioned only some short stories, typical of the actual level of the works of Shefki Hysa. But I cannot let without mentioning the unique short novel: "The village headman", which contests the greediness and voracity. I would say, the traits of the expressionism are more obvious than in any other short story, not leaving aside the paradox and grotesque or phantasmagoria, all mixed together in realism. The short story evokes figuratively the corruption and degeneration of the society through the unique cinematographic dynamics. Each word here is readable and transparent.

In these few lines, I would also like to mention "The magic" that belongs to the kind of short novels above, but differs in the anxiety it lets out and the fear not to become a written calamity.
"Oh, I know you would call me nuts, evocative, fascinated, raving into the infernal grounds of a scary dream, or whatever epithet you’d like to add, when I mention magic. Your job, nevertheless, or otherwise- the vivid fact, the outcome of its violence, is me. Looking closely at me, you would understand the transfiguration of my being. Hence, look at my unshaved skinny face, swollen and bloody nose and lips, pimpled and scabby cheekbones, shaggy, untidy, muddy hair, becoming scarce in the widened and creasing forehead because of the fear sheltered deep inside the skull, outlining more and more clearly. Just look at my numb and cold body! So… aren’t you feeling fear, pain, pity, disgust, taunt, or anything else, because of the way I look like? …."

As I mentioned above, the actual level of the writing process of the narrator Shefki Hysa is perceived by the expressionist traits. But permit us to say, very friendly that we would like to have this tendency hidden from time to time and not to come out strongly and open. It is clear that the early expressionism despite the tendency of the idea hidden in it, it was also distinguished for the pathos of "catastrophe and scream". The new expressionism should be different and I am convinced that Shefki Hysa is aware of that, because his stories are characterised by the national spirit and signs of the clever Cham spirit, always troubled and always in search to discover, because he knows well the book of life and that of library.

Dritëro Agolli

July 2003

Transladed by: Dr. Haim Reitan

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hashim Thaçi, Olli Rehn

Declaration of Independence of Kosovo

17. 02. 2008

Convened in an extraordinary meeting on February 17, 2008, in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo,
Answering the call of the people to build a society that honors human dignity and affirms the pride and purpose of its citizens,

Committed to confront the painful legacy of the recent past in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness,

Dedicated to protecting, promoting and honoring the diversity of our people,
Reaffirming our wish to become fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic family of democracies,
Observing that Kosovo is a special case arising from Yugoslavia's non-consensual breakup and is not a precedent for any other situation,

Recalling the years of strife and violence in Kosovo, that disturbed the conscience of all civilized people,

Grateful that in 1999 the world intervened, thereby removing Belgrade's governance over Kosovo and placing Kosovo under United Nations interim administration,

Proud that Kosovo has since developed functional, multi-ethnic institutions of democracy that express freely the will of our citizens,

Recalling the years of internationally-sponsored negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina over the question of our future political status,

Regretting that no mutually acceptable status outcome was possible, in spite of the good-faith engagement of our leaders,

Confirming that the recommendations of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari provide Kosovo with a comprehensive framework for its future development and are in line with the highest European standards of human rights and good governance,

Determined to see our status resolved in order to give our people clarity about their future, move beyond the conflicts of the past and realize the full democratic potential of our society,
Honoring all the men and women who made great sacrifices to build a better future for Kosovo,

1. We, the democratically elected leaders of our people, hereby declare Kosovo to be an independent and sovereign state. This declaration reflects the will of our people and it is in full accordance with the recommendations of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and his Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement.

2. We declare Kosovo to be a democratic, secular and multi-ethnic republic, guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal protection under the law. We shall protect and promote the rights of all communities in Kosovo and create the conditions necessary for their effective participation in political and decision-making processes.

3. We accept fully the obligations for Kosovo contained in the Ahtisaari Plan, and welcome the framework it proposes to guide Kosovo in the years ahead. We shall implement in full those obligations including through priority adoption of the legislation included in its Annex XII, particularly those that protect and promote the rights of communities and their members.

4. We shall adopt as soon as possible a Constitution that enshrines our commitment to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all our citizens, particularly as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights. The Constitution shall incorporate all relevant principles of the Ahtisaari Plan and be adopted through a democratic and deliberative process.

5. We welcome the international community's continued support of our democratic development through international presence established in Kosovo on the basis of UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999). We invite and welcome an international civilian presence to supervise our implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan, and a European Union-led rule of law mission. We also invite and welcome the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to retain the leadership role of the international military presence in Kosovo and to implement responsibilities assigned to it under UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and the Ahtisaari Plan, until such time as Kosovo institutions are capable of assuming these responsibilities. We shall cooperate fully with these presence to ensure Kosovo's future peace, prosperity and stability.

6. For reasons of culture, geography and history, we believe our future lies with the European family. We therefore declare our intention to take all steps necessary to facilitate full membership in the European Union as soon as feasible and implement the reforms required for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

7. For P ahead period the in work its continues it as Nations United with constructively working to committed are We democracy. Of institutions build and war from rebuild recover us help done has gratitude deep our express.

8. With independence comes the duty of responsible membership in the international community. We accept fully this duty and shall abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, other acts of the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the international legal obligations and principles of international comity that mark the relations among states. Kosovo shall have its international borders as set forth in Annex VIII of the Ahtisaari Plan, and shall fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all our neighbors. Kosovo shall also refrain from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

9. We hereby undertake the international obligations of Kosovo, including those concluded on our behalf by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and treaty and other obligations of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to which we are bound as a former constituent part, including the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. We shall cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We intend to seek membership in international organizations, in which Kosovo shall seek to contribute to the pursuit of international peace and stability.

10. Kosovo declares its commitment to peace and stability in our region of southeast Europe. Our independence brings to an end the process of Yugoslavia's violent dissolution. While this process has been a painful one, we shall work tirelessly to contribute to a reconciliation that would allow southeast Europe to move beyond the conflicts of our past and forge new links of regional cooperation. We shall therefore work together with our neighbors to advance a common European future.

11. We express, in particular, our desire to establish good relations with all our neighbors, including the Republic of Serbia with whom we have deep historical, commercial and social ties that we seek to develop further in the near future. We shall continue our efforts to contribute to relations of friendship and cooperation with the Republic of Serbia, while promoting reconciliation among our people.

12. We hereby affirm, clearly, specifically, and irrevocably, that Kosovo shall be legally bound to comply with the provisions contained in this Declaration, including, especially, the obligations for it under the Ahtisaari Plan. In all of these matters, we shall act consistent with principles of international law and resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, including resolution 1244 (1999). We declare publicly that all states are entitled to rely upon this declaration, and appeal to them to extend to us their support and friendship.

Friday, March 14, 2008

By Ismail Kadare

A book of messages of hope and peace for Tchamëria

I was impressed by the book with short stories "Tchamëria’s flavour" written by Shefki Hysa, promoted in one of the programs of the national TV Channel. I am interested in every publication on Tchamëria, whenever it is remembered. This is not to encourage any disturbances in the Balkans, as someone might think of, but to calm down any restless conscience. This is why I said that I was impressed by the book with short stories "Tchamëria’s flavour" of this author of Tchamëria’s origin. I was interested in reading this book and I was anxious to go carefully through its pages and come across the message of hope and peace that it conveys to the reader.

In short, I would say that this book is necessary, imperative and moral, like every publication of this nature. There are many reasons that the Tchams do not forget Tchamëria and this is not only their right, but also the right of all the Albanians. Furthermore, it is a moral task, because one can never forget the suffering wound of thousands and thousands people. It can never be forgotten the displacement, it can never be forgotten the birth place, where the hearth is. All of these will help to get rid of the nightmares, as the book "Tchamëria’s flavour" does.

It is high time for the Balkans to get rid of the old crimes, and one of them is what happened to Tchamëria - the Tchams drama. In this way, the Balkans will pave the way towards the emancipation. Only after this, the Balkans might become part of the emancipated European family.

January, 2004

Translated by: Dr. Haim Reitan,
Honorary President
of the Diplomatic Mission
Peace and Prosperity